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Mount Vernon Sports Briefs: Mount Vernon Girls Fall to West Potomac

A slow start to the season opener for the Mount Vernon girls soccer team led to a 1-0 loss at the hands of a Route 1 rival West Potomac.

"We came flat," Mount Vernon head coach Tony Garza said. "We came out watching the game instead of playing the game."

Garza said sophomore forward Megan O’Dell, a first-team all-district selection last season, Jane Heller, a sophomore midfielder returning from injury, and sophomore midfielder Serenna Schantz will be the Majors’ key players this season. Mount Vernon will be without the services of standout goalkeeper Charlene Belanger this season due to a knee injury.

"That’s a big loss for us," Garza said.

Taking over for Belanger is sophomore Alexis Lybarger, who played goalkeeper in four games last season when Garza played Belanger in the field.

"She’s still got a little bit of nervousness in her," Garza said. "We’ve got [Belanger] at practice working with her, trying to work those butterflies."

Mount Vernon will host Wakefield at 7 p.m. on March 24.

<b>Wolverines Open Season with Loss</b>

The West Potomac boys soccer team lost its season opener against Mount Vernon, 4-1, on Monday. Senior defender Fiifi Atta-Otoo scored the Wolverines’ lone goal.

West Potomac trailed 1-0 at halftime.

"They played well," West Potomac head coach Andrew Peck said of the Wolverines. "It’s just the little mistakes that killed us. The scoreboard was an accurate assessment of the game, as in the scoreboard. But the actual game itself, in all reality, we could have been up 5-0 in the first half, we just couldn’t finish. …

"It was one of those nights: do everything but score."

Peck said his goals are to win the first district championship in the program’s history and take the Wolverines to the regional tournament for the third time in his four-year tenure.

Atta-Otoo, a team captain, will play a key role for the Wolverines, according to Peck.

"Technically, he’s very sound," Peck said. "He’s a workhorse. Not many [opponents] can bump him off the ball. He’s a thicker guy and he’s got the footwork to do it."

Peck also said senior midfielder/forward James Taylor and junior defender Matt Kuhbach will play important roles for West Potomac.

The Wolverines will host Edison at 7 p.m. on March 18.

— Jon Roetman

<b>Sandburg Middle School Pantherlon 5K Is April 30</b>

The 22nd annual Carl Sandburg Pantherlon 5K Run and 1 mile Fun Run/Walk will be held at 8 a.m. on April 30 at Carl Sandburg Middle School, located at 8428 Fort Hunt Road, Alexandria.

This year’s race will feature professional runners and coaches offering free 20-minute clinics before both the 5K and 1 mile fun run to all registered kindergarten through eighth-grade runners. Topics will include proper stretching, warm-up techniques, race form and race strategy, each targeted to the various age groups. After the race, runners and families may visit kiosks manned by many of the D.C.-area running clubs and running stores to discuss nutrition, find age appropriate follow-up races and ask questions.

For more information, contact Rebecca Bostick at 703-768-2250 or rbarch@mindspring.com.